Sunday, November 20, 2011

Occupy Creativity

This past week I was in Vegas for a national work meeting. There were so many great speakers - informative and motivational - I'm still scrambling to hold on to their words of wisdom, while holding Inspiration in a choke hold (he keeps trying to run away...). We had everything from an orchestral conductor to an author (Frans Johannson, The Medici Effect) to a successful chef (Jeff Henderson) who'd discovered his passion (and success) in a prison kitchen.

I thought I'd share a piece of my week - something that's been simmering in my brain ever since - which can be summed up by this little graph:

Not something you'd see in math, eh? (Unless, perhaps, you're studying Particle in a Box theory...*rubs temples*) This is a graph of reaching a goal. When that initial idea sparks in your brain and you get to work realizing that idea. 

NEWS FLASH: The journey toward reaching a goal is never a straight line.

Now, let me back up a little. There was a study done that observed %Genius, by giving various age groups random objects to see what combinations they could come up with. They studied anyone from age 3 to 26. Know what they found? That the 3 year olds were 98% Genius while the 26 year olds were at 2% Genius. Why? Because the older you got, the more your logic got in the way.

Yeah, yeah, I know. A 3 year old can't really do anything about those ideas, but that's not really the point. The point is to show us all the opportunities we miss. Everything we don't do or try because we say to ourselves, "Nah, that won't work," or "I'm not smart enough," or "Everyone will think I'm an idiot."

Dean Simonton says “innovators don’t produce because they are successful, but that they are successful because they produce. Quantity of ideas leads to quality of ideas.”

Which brings me back to the graph. You may get some great idea, and even if you DO set out to do it, you let one of those downturns make you stop. You let doubt creep in and you listen to that little version of yourself that holds a chisel and hammer and merely exists to chip away your confidence. (It's also been known to use TNT.)

You MUST ignore it (maybe even get a bandaid), and keep going.

It's why we love to read stories about heroes and heroines that never quit. No matter what challenge is presented, we love to watch them figure out a solution. We love to watch them grow while they find success through their failures. (Unless you prefer tragedies...which I don't...) 

It takes finding failed ideas before finding the ones that won't. But the point is we keep trying.


  1. I love that graph!
    This happens to me all the time!!
    Although, I've had a great bought of confidence lately and the only thing hindering that is school. :/ Argh!!

  2. Sometimes I really wish I could go back to my 3 year-old days and be creative and genius all the time without that little logical voice getting in the way all the dang time :)

  3. It's through adversity that we grow. It's also no surprise that toddlers confound their parents!

  4. Ashley - Hang in there with school! It'll be over before you know it.

    Shelli - Nice to "meet" you, and thanks!

    S.L. - Yeah, I hear ya. Maybe it'd be good for us to spend some time with toddlers??? :)

    Julius - :D Absolutely. Toddlers also embarrass them...

  5. Yeah, for me, it's more about instinct than anything else. I have to trust my gut over my head. My head just gets in the way most of the time! My instinct almost never lets me down!

  6. I love this a million ways! So true. Dang, Barbara! I need to get to your blog more often! I have really missed it.

  7. Nancy - Yes, instinct! If only we could learn to trust it more...I have such an issues with this.

    Peggy - Aww, man, thanks! *blushes* That means a lot coming from you - your posts always motivate me and challenge me to look at things from another perspective. And don't come over TOO's been a month since I've posted anything. *averts eyes*

  8. I must REALLY need to hear this right now... cause I keep running into the "Never, never, never give up!" speech everywhere I turn!

    So my confidence might be wavering just a bit. I can admit it ( : THANKS FOR THE PICK ME UP!! Its muchly appreciated!

    Also, my favorite part about the graph? The star. OF COURSE!

    P.s. Daria, Alex and I have FINALLY been getting in some quality time together... YAY!!

  9. P.S. I checked out your Good Reads (which I seriously need to get myself). Atlas Shrugged, Harry Potter, Catcher and the Rye, Enders Game, Hunger Games - you have AMAZING taste (those all happen to be MY favorites too!). Those on your list I have NOT read - I'm totally going out to get at the store tomorrow.

  10. Julie - You know, I think I need to follow you around some more!! Um, and YOUR confidence better not be waning! You're amazing, my dear!

    ps YAY! Smack Daria for me, would ya? I promise she's not nearly as frustrating in book 2.

    S.L. - WOW! Yes, DO get a GoodReads! (I mean, really, what's ONE more media Also, let me know if there are any you think _I_ should read, please :D

  11. Such wonderful advice and inspiration. And I love that graph--I relate to it in a big way. : )

  12. This is an awesome, inspiring post! I'll have to save it and pull it out in times of stress and doubt. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It's definitely something I need to be reminded of!

    Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Cynthia - SO glad it inspired you! I definitely walked away hoping I could keep the confidence going!

    Krispy - Aw, thanks! Glad it could help! I hold on to anything inspiring I hear because I always need it. Happy thanksgiving to you, too, Missy!

  14. Hey, I've awarded you a blog award! Stop by and check it out!

  15. Oops, wrong blog address! I meant

  16. Preach it, sister!
    My brain is always my own worst enemy. Once I stop THINKING and start DOING--the results are huge. Nice post.

  17. S.L. - OH, I'm LATE!! THANK YOU!!!! I've been outta town, but i"ll have to go and check it out.

    Bethany - Thank you, dear!! My brain is my worst enemy, too :(

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